Kumagai-yutaka More Power The Story of Jurgen Grobler The most successful Olympic coach of all time:Kumagai-yutaka
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More Power The Story of Jurgen Grobler The most successful Olympic coach of all time:Kumagai-yutaka

Hugh Matheson
Hugh Matheson Published in October 23, 2018, 10:20 am
 More Power The Story of Jurgen Grobler The most successful Olympic coach of all time:Kumagai-yutaka

More Power The Story of Jurgen Grobler The most successful Olympic coach of all time:Kumagai-yutaka


reader Reply to on 7 August 2018
I was really keen to read this book having a great interest both in coaching techniques and rowing. unfortunately there is very little insight into what made Jurgen and his crews so successful. the chapter structure focused on successive Olympic cycles results in not much more than a list of crews and results from the different regattas. then near the end there is a comment that Jurgen had nothing to do with the book wanting to only write about his career when he had finished coaching. I wish I had read that comment first and will wait to read Jurgen's book when he finally retires.
Avid reader of history
Avid reader of history Reply to on 13 August 2018
The first half of the book is very interesting with its focus on GDR rowing and if this section had been expanded the book would merit 5 stars. The second half is more of a list of who rowed when and where and the narrative loses its way. I was hoping for more technical insight into how equipment, training and physiology have changed over the years and how JG harnessed these changes to deliver success. But a good read for anyone who has rowing connections.
Peter King
Peter King Reply to on 14 August 2018
Issues with this book

1. Why now - Jurgen is still working and may retire after Tokyo, so why not wait until then to write the complete story?
2. No original research - no new interviews, lots of rehashed articles from the Guardian and Regatta
3. The second half of the book is monotonous - it just lists crews and rowers, no insight and few stories

The biggest issue for me is how this book handles the drugs issue. Clearly Jurgen was a key part of the blue-pill programme in GDR. He's been at the head of the British men's squad throughout the TUE scandal. Is he really so valuable that we have to keep him regardless of this. The authors don't make a judgement or take a position. The book is limp and pointless on the biggest issue facing sport. Every poorly performing official and corrupt coach must sleep soundly in their beds at night knowing that this is the toughest grilling that they are likely to face.

The ARA and British Rowing also get off very lightly. There is some comment about how hopeless they were in the 1970s and 1980s, and some mild criticism of some of the people involved. The only conclusion that this book draws is that funding wins medals.

Perhaps these guys are too close to the establishment and too afraid of upsetting people to write this book properly?
Kindle Customer
Kindle Customer Reply to on 4 September 2018
An incredible tale of fortitude and determination. I found the interspersing of events unfolding in the subjects own country with his single-mindedness to his task really interesting. Not being a rower, I did find some of the rowing reports a bit long, but a great read nonetheless.
JJ CROLY Reply to on 29 August 2018
Very disappointed. Nothing more than a collection of newspaper quotes, crew lists and results. Although Grobler did not cooperate in the writing there are not even any in depth interviews with any of the athletes he coached, or coaches he worked alongside.
J A Pritchard
J A Pritchard Reply to on 24 July 2018
I'd looked forward to getting this book, hoping it would give some ideas on Grobler's methods and motivation. What a disappointment! This book is basically a list of crew members, races and results from the 70's to today. Next to nothing on methods and motivation and only public quotes from Jurgen Grobler. It was telling to read in either chapter 13 or 14, I think, that Jurgen wanted nothing to do with this book and he only granted the authors a brief chat in the pub on one occasion.

Don't bother with this book, (unless you are possibly also a fan of Wisdens Almanack).
Neil Pickford
Neil Pickford Reply to on 5 July 2018
If you were hoping for an insight into the motivation and drive behind Jurgen Grobler and his phenomenal Olympic success then you’re going to be disappointed. Rather, More Power uses the German’s stellar coaching career – broken-down into Olympiads – as a framework describe the systems, science, politics and finance used to turn amateur rowers into hugely successful Olympic athletes, first in the GDR and then in GB.

But that’s not to take anything away from the book at all. It’s a fascinating read, particularly for those of us who saw the Redgrave successes as passing news items on the TV but didn’t really get into the sport until after he’d retired. Describing the interaction between many well-known [rowing] names and institutions, this is essentially a history of the development of modern rowing from a gritty but haphazard amateur pastime into today’s professional medal-making machine. A machine hand-built from almost nothing but with considerable influence from Jurgen Grobler’s hands on the steering wires.

To know more about what goes on between Grobler’s ears, you’ll probably have to wait until he hangs-up his stopwatch and writes that down himself but More Power provides plenty of interest to keep you going in the meantime. Buy it and read it, you won’t be disappointed, especially if you’re a rower. Frankly many sporting biographies are pretty dull but this well-researched and well-written example certainly isn’t once of them.
G Braham
G Braham Reply to on 21 July 2018
Enjoyable read, well researched and written, particularly valuable for bringing to life the period of rowing history either side of the well-documented Redgrave/Pinsent era. It gave me a new sympathy for the pressures Grobler must have faced working within the GDR system and of the unavoidable personal compromises that he would have had to make in order to protect his family.
However, the book was clearly hampered by Grobler’s decision not to collaborate and so suffers from a lack of insight into what makes him a great coach, the crises, the tensions between athletes or between athletes and coaches, the disputes and how they were all dealt with, sometimes lapsing into lists of minor international regatta results and crew changes as a way of chronicling the passage of time between one Olympic Games and the next. I was surprised the authors didn’t get more out of interviews with other coaches and athletes about what really went on!
Dave F
Dave F Reply to on 23 July 2018
An engaging read, well-researched and very detailed.

It is stronger as an interesting view of two contrasting national approaches and coaching systems, rather than offering great insights into the man himself (Grobler having declined the opportunity to make this a formally authorised biog).

In this sense the first third, covering the former East Germany rowing set-up is fascinating. Non-rowers and rowers alike will find much to consider on issues that apparently still resonate in elite endurance sports today: improving performance through marginal gains and/or chemical enhancement?; the ability or not of individuals to reject organised doping regimes; and the sometimes irresistible pressures from on-high to succeed.

The latter two-thirds - in the UK - do require the reader to know a bit of rowing. There is a sometimes bewildering amount of detail regarding World Cup races and locations, crew combinations, and Henley events. Although this in itself is a symptom of the amount of success Grobler has generated. It also gives some background to the work involved, for those of us who remember that period as GB rowing crews seemingly simply winning.
Adrian02 Reply to on 4 August 2018
This should be one of the best rowing books ever written. The widely known story of Juergen's life is so intriguing and I hoped this would flesh out some of the mystery and offer insights into thoughts and techniques, alas no! This book is a simple listing of crews, dates and results with a bit of the known story thrown in. The book is also terribly written, jumps about and repeats itself from chapter to chapter.
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